GALVESTON, Texas – Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, and Moody Gardens is offering a very warm welcome to two new healthy Macaroni penguin chicks. Successful breeding and hatching of the Macaroni penguin species inside of the South Atlantic exhibit are possible because of the excellent quality of animal care through Moody Garden biologists.
“We are overjoyed and extremely grateful for these new chicks that have now joined the exhibit here at Moody Gardens and that our Macaroni penguins have had multiple years of successful breeding,” said Senior Biologist Maggie Reynolds.
The first chick hatched on Nov. 6 and weighed 62 grams, and the second hatched on Nov. 9 and weighed 124 grams.
The proud penguin parents are Bleu, a male who came to Moody Gardens from Montreal, and Feta, who arrived at Moody Gardens in 2016 from SeaWorld San Diego. Both new chicks were taken care of on exhibit by limited human intervention.
Try to spot them on exhibit either in-person or on the Penguin Webcam, which can be found at MoodyGardens.org.
Having Macaroni penguins on exhibit allows the Moody Gardens to educate the public about the issues that these birds face in the wild. Macaroni penguins, which are native to the Sub-Antarctic region of the world, are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, and colonies are decreasing in the wild due to factors such as climate change and overfishing.
“By having these birds in our collection and showing the public how important these issues are, we are able to share the many ways that these populations can be helped in nature,” said Diane Olsen, Aquarium curator.
Each successful hatch adds to Moody Gardens’ mission of education and conservation.
Olsen notes, “Increasing the number of birds in our collection allows us to have greater diversity for breeding pairs in the future, and also allows us to be able to send birds to other facilities to diversify their populations.”
The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States.
In addition to the Macaroni penguins, five other species including Gentoo, Chinstrap, King, and Northern and Southern Rockhopper penguins also call the South Atlantic Exhibit home. The warm-climate Humboldt penguins live in an exhibit right next door to their cold climate.
With over 1.5 million gallons of water, the Aquarium Pyramid houses marine life from five distinct environments. Not only does the collection include penguins, but visitors will also see sting rays, sharks, seals, sea lions, and over 200 different species of fish.
For more information call 409-744-4673 or visit moodygardens.org.